Security releases new party policy

The new alcohol policy at Williams is in effect and will be enforced strictly by campus Security. Security has outlined the new alcohol policy as well as new guidelines for hosting parties, including sanctions for minors who are caught drinking.

The Policy

According to Director of Security Jean Thorndike-Wilson, the review committee worked on revisions to the party policy and attempted to develop a policy that would comply with Massachusetts State Laws concerning alcohol.

The people serving on the committee were Director of Housing Tom McEvoy, Health Educator Laini Sporbert, Activities Intern Yolanda Rucker, Mike Ryan ’98, Leigh Winter ’99, Paul Friedman ’00, Thorndike-Wilson and Assistant Director of Security David Boyer. The final revisions of the policy were submitted to the Committee on Undergraduate Life for review and approval.

The new policy says that when alcohol is served, there must be a method of identifying persons of legal drinking age. Bulk alcohol, as in kegs or beer balls, or alcohol equivalent to a quarter keg is not permitted at parties for fewer than 20 people. Parties or events having more than 20 people must be registered with the Security Department and have a certified host.

Alcohol may not be served at a party in a first-year dormitory or at any party exclusively intended for first-year students. First-year entries cannot fund alcohol at parties either, but under separate billing can sponsor entertainment, food, alternative beverages, security or any other non-alcoholic expense.

“The one constant problem that we still face is the enforcement of the 21- year-old drinking age,” Thorndike-Wilson said. “Wrist bands and handstamps are used to identify 21-year-olds but enforcement is still difficult.” She said the system seems to be working well at the Log but dining service staff is involved in actually checking IDs, driver’s licenses and issuing the wrist bands.

Thorndike-Wilson said student parties are different because students have to be the responsible people and control underage drinking. “They have to develop the proper attitude to monitor their peer group which is often difficult,” she said. “Sometimes, students at parties don’t cooperate with the efforts of the student sponsors.”

The review committee also looked at the role of the host and the expectations of others who assist the host at the party.

“Specifically we looked at the role of hosts, peer monitors, door monitors and party coordinators,” Thorndike-Wilson said.

Hosting regulations

Anyone hosting, monitoring or coordinating a party/event must become certified to do so by attending the workshop “Planning Parties/Events at Williams” offered by Security and Health Services. The workshop educates students about social and legal responsibilities. The Security Department will maintain a confidential list of certified students for reference during registration. Workshops are scheduled throughout the semester and during Winter Study. Individual sessions may be arranged by contacting the Security Department. Security and Health Services are responsible for facilitating the workshops.

Only one certified 21-year-old host is required for medium parties of 41 to 100 people. For parties of 200 plus people, two 21-year-old hosts may be required depending on the anticipated attendance, amounts of alcohol and type of entertainment.

Only the 21-year-old is considered the host of the party. Peer monitors (formerly named hosts) will be assigned to assist the host. The number of peer monitors will depend on the size of the party.

For a small party with a maximum of 40 people only one 21-year-old host is required. For a party up to 100 people a peer monitor is also required. Additional peer monitors will be required for parties greater than 100 people.

For parties without alcohol, the host does not have to be 21.

Aside from helping the host, peer monitors will serve as door monitors, check windows, check IDs and identify 21-year-old guests with wristbands or hand-stamps. All parties with alcohol have to have a method of identifying 21-year- olds. According to Security, the best method is hand-stamps or wristbands after checking date of birth on valid driver’s licenses. ID Check Guide Books are available for all 21-year-old hosts by the Security Department.

Hosts, peer monitors and party coordinators have to be certified. Students who have already completed the education this past year will not have to be re-certified in the fall.

Party coordinators have responsibilities before and after the party. They find the host and peer monitors, organize the party, make sure proper amounts of food and alternative beverage are present and clean up or arrange for clean-up after the party.

In order to help hosts comply with Massachusetts State Laws concerning alcohol, Security suggests that at large parties it is best to hire trained servers or bartenders to check IDs, issue wristbands and serve alcohol.

Health Services and Dining Services are preparing to offer Training for Intervention Procedures programs and Bar Code training. Bar Code requires six hours of training and a written exam; it is a lifetime certification.

“We determined that host education workshops had to focus on all aspects of party planning, college policy, health education and state laws,” Thorndike-Wilson said. “The workshops had to be expanded to include education for anyone involved in party planning, not just the host.” Massachusetts State Law holds a host liable but Thorndike-Wilson said others, especially the students who attend the party, must be aware of their responsibility.

Security said at this time TIPS and Bar Code training are not mandatory but they are highly recommended. “We would like to have all students attend a workshop to make everyone informed guests at parties,” Thorndike-Wilson said. “We also determined the need for hosts and peer monitors to become TIPS or Bar Code certified before becoming involved in party planning on campus.”

A major change in the sponsoring of parties is that first-year entries cannot co-sponsor parties when alcohol is served. The Review Committee plans to address this concern so that entries can be integrated into the social scene at Williams.

Security’s Role

Officers will continue to work large parties whenever required and to shut down parties that are noisy, unruly, exceeding fire capacity limits, unregistered or violating the party plan in any manner.

At small and medium parties when officers are not assigned, the campus officers and the shift supervisors will check each party for compliance to the party plan and the method of identifying 21 year olds. Officers will also continue to assist the host in any way possible so as to ensure a safe environment for all concerned. If it is apparent that minors are consuming alcohol, officers may intervene to help the host with the compliance of Massachusetts State Law concerning alcohol.

Officers assigned to parties are responsible for identifying and reporting to security supervisors the names of students who fail to comply with Massachusetts Law. The underage student will be contacted and will meet with the director, assistant director or security supervisor. The initial meeting will concentrate on education concerning Massachusetts State Laws; using fake identification and the penalties; host liability law and responsibility assumed by 21-year-old hosts; and risk assessment. The goal of the first intervention is to raise awareness concerning compliance with state law and to advise the student about any future violations and subsequent sanctions.

Students involved in more than one incident of underage drinking will either meet with Security, Health Services or a dean. Each case will be evaluated and appropriat
e follow-up will be determined. The sanctions with the Dean’s office have not yet been determined.

A complete booklet outlining policies for planning parties/events and hosting parties will be distributed in Sept. 1998.